Middlesex grandmother won Steelers 'Name the Mascot' contest

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To be honest, Steely McBeam was not the first name Diane Roles would have picked for the new Steelers mascot.

She'd have preferred Artie. Or maybe Glory. T.D. Rooney had a nice ring, she thought.

But Steely McBeam it is and Mrs. Roles is not complaining. After all, that's the name that won her four free tickets to a football game, prizes, and instant celebrity.

Mrs. Roles, 61, of Middlesex, won a "Name the Mascot" contest sponsored by the Steelers.

The contest was announced in April, and Mrs. Roles said she decided to take a chance. Well, more than one chance.

"I entered maybe 40 or 50 times," she said.

Each time she entered she submitted new names, including Steely McBeam.

Then she forgot about the contest. She never told her family that she'd entered.

So when the call came to her house on a day when her mother and her five grandchildren were home with her, they were a little taken aback when they heard Mrs. Roles yelling, "Grammy won!"

According to the Steelers, Steely McBeam was among more than 70,000 names submitted to the contest.

"It was a difficult decision, but we expect him to be a favorite among our youngest fans," said Steelers President Art Rooney II.

As the winner, Mrs. Roles and three guests -- her husband and two sons -- will be given the VIP treatment at the Sept. 16 home opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Just tickets to the game would have been enough for Mrs. Roles.

"This is my very first game," she said. "I am very excited. I never thought I could go to a game; it's always been a sellout and you can't buy tickets."

In addition to end-zone seats, Mrs. Roles will receive parking passes and passes to a VIP hospitality tent, along with Steelers apparel and other prizes.

Although some, such as callers to radio talk shows, have questioned whether the Steelers need a mascot at all, Mrs. Roles, an active grandmother, has no doubts.

"The men, they probably could not care less about it. But the children, I figure why not?

"How could people not want anything for the children?" she asked.

"For the Pirates we have pierogies; I don't see why the young children can't have a Steeler. It's all about the children."

Mrs. Roles said the name was meant to represent steel for Pittsburgh's industrial heritage, "Mc" for the Rooney family's Irish roots, and Beam for the steel beams produced in Pittsburgh. And also for Jim Beam, her husband's favorite alcoholic beverage.

Her husband is enjoying his wife's time in the limelight as well as the prize package that he will benefit from.

"He says keep playing," Mrs. Roles said.

Maureen Byko is a freelance writer.


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